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Trobaugh v. Sondag
Iowa Supreme Court
668 N.W.2d 577 (2003)
While Patrick Sondag (defendant) was serving as an assistant county attorney, he signed a complaint charging Charles Trobaugh (plaintiff) with assault and possession of a firearm by a felon. Sondag became an assistant public defender and was assigned to represent Trobaugh. Trobaugh pleaded guilty to displaying a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon. Six years later, Trobaugh was convicted of a federal drug offense. Trobaugh’s attorney in the federal case discovered that Sondag had represented Trobraugh on the charges in the complaint Sondag had signed. Sondag’s potential conflict of interest was raised as a ground for postconviction relief, but the action was dismissed as time-barred. Trobaugh’s third application for postconviction relief based on Sondag’s potential conflict of interest was granted. After Trobaugh’s claim pursuant to the Iowa Tort Claims Act was denied, Trobaugh filed a civil legal-malpractice claim. The district court dismissed the suit, holding that Trobaugh’s claims were barred by the two-year statute of limitations because they accrued when Trobaugh first discovered Sondag’s potential conflict of interest.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Cady, J.)
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